Rumored to help with all kinds of conditions such as pain, inflammation, anxiety, and insomnia, CBD is quickly becoming more and more popular. But how do consumers know if their CBD is safe or where it is coming from? Since the global regulation of CBD is in many ways still a work in progress, one of the only ways to ensure its quality is through the standards introduced by Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).
cGMP, GMP-EU, and GPP certification for the CBD industry
For any company dealing with the production, packing, and delivery of CBD, having a recognized GMP certification is a major business requirement and an integral part of branding and reputation.
GMP certification requirements were introduced by governing bodies and act as proof of compliance with quality standards. While there are different GMP certifications, they’re all very similar. The most common GMP certifications are:
- Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) published by the FDA in the US
- Good Manufacturing Practice-EU (GMP-EU) published by the European Medicines Agency (EMA)
- Good Production Practices (GPP) published by Health Canada in Canada
Do companies have to be GMP certified?
A GMP certification is applicable at a jurisdiction level. This means that to do business as a GMP-compliant company in Britain or France, a CBD manufacturer in the US will also need GMP-EU certification and vice versa. The fact that a brand isn’t GMP certified doesn’t mean that it’s not selling high-quality products, it just means it doesn’t have a certification. For any CBD producer that is sure of its products’ quality and proud of its brand, a GMP certification is a coveted stamp of approval of the purity of their production process.
Who gives out the certificate?
GMP certification for CBD, supplements, or cosmetics is offered by a number of global certification bodies. While the standards that must be met are set out by the FDA, other, non-governmental organizations are accredited to give out GMP certifications according to FDA guidelines. That means that a variety of different GMP certificates exists, but all of them adhere to the same standards. The bottom line is, as long as a company is GMP compliant and was certified in the USA, no matter by which type of certificate, it adheres to the production standards set out by the FDA.
Compliance means it’s safe
CBD is extracted from industrial hemp. Like with most products, an entire production line with various elements is involved in the growing, extraction, bottling, and sale of CBD products. To guarantee a safe and uniform end product, it is important that all parts of the production chain adhere to the same standards.
What does GMP check for?
GMP guidelines define and examine each step of each process from when the industrial hemp is grown and processed to how the CBD is extracted, refined, and isolated. Starting at ground level, GMP regulations ensure the quality of the soil where the industrial hemp is grown and control and limit the use of dangerous herbicides, pesticides, or fungicides.
Other GMP regulations include:
- Making sure the CBD is manufactured in a suitable facility using suitable equipment which is frequently maintained
- Implementation of hygiene processes to prevent contamination of the crop
- Ensuring that employees are healthy and are trained and certified to perform their tasks
- Regular inspection of all production stations by certified bodies
- Demanding documentation of all processes and investigations
Becoming GMP compliant
Once the FDA, EMA, or another certifying body receives an application for GMP certification from an authorized company representative, they coordinate inspections and verify compliance to standards. This process is usually lengthy and not exactly cheap, which is why many smaller producers simply don’t have the funds to become GMP certified, even though they comply with all standards.
The GMP system is considered to be a flexible framework for pharmaceutical companies who often implement their own work procedures, while at the same time have to fulfill regulatory requirements.
GMP certification for more informed decisions
For the end-user, one of the only ways to be sure of the safety of a CBD product is through the manufacturer’s GMP certification. Using a CBD oil, cream, edible, or other product that is GMP compliant means knowing the origin of the CBD and its quality. You can be assured that the CBD has been grown, processed, extracted, packed, and distributed in sterile conditions and has undergone all relevant GMP requirements.
Together with a clean certificate of analysis, GMP certifications ensure that your CBD is free from contaminants, and is safe and ready to use. The CBD market of today is still largely unregulated and it’s up to you as the consumer to make sure that what you buy is of good quality. By buying from a company that third-party tests its products, freely publishes its COAs, and is GMP compliant, you’ve done the best you can do to choose a clean, high-quality product.